Slow walk to victory

IssueApril - May 2016
News by PN staff

More bad news for Manchester police over their handling of the Barton Moss anti-fracking ‘Community Protection Camp’, (November 2013 – April 2014).

In early February, the crown prosecution service (CPS) dropped charges against 20 anti-fracking ‘protectors’ following the acquittal of John Wasilewski and David Cohen on 22 January, according to Netpol, the police monitoring group. (20 more cases were under review.)

District judge Sanders said he was not sure that either man was pushing back against police, as charged: ‘More likely, both defendants wanted to maintain a slower walking pace than’ the police were trying to impose. Therefore they were not guilty of ‘aggravated trespass’.

Two-thirds of arrests at Barton Moss have so far ended in failure for the police – cases dropped by CPS or dismissed by the courts, or not guilty verdicts.

Protest exclusion zone

So says a report into the policing of the camp published by Liverpool John Moores University and York University in February.

The academics think the low conviction rates suggest that arrests at the camp weren’t designed to secured convictions, but, coupled with bail conditions restricting people’s movements, the police were actually out to ‘create a protest exclusion zone around the fracking site – an action that would otherwise have no basis in law’, and would violate protesters’ rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.’

Topics: Police, Fracking